Review: Agnes Obel - Myopia

Al Darbyshire reviews Agnes Obel's latest album

Alex Darbyshire
6th March 2020
I’m a big fan of some ambient sound, I have whole playlists filled with it, dedicated to working or cleaning up, or even just some chilled, sleepy tunes. If you’re like me, Agnes Obel’s latest album, Myopia, is right up your alley. 

Obel is a Danish artist whose influences lie all across the musical spectrum, with an upbringing steeped in classical, jazz and folk music. She knows what she’s doing when it comes to engaging but mellow tunes, which is exactly what this album delivers.

I’m a big believer that an album’s opening track ought to set the temperature of the whole record, while leaving room for growth and traversal - something Obel understands keenly. The album greets the listener at the door with “Camera’s Rolling”, whose rolling, ethereal sound immediately relaxed me, body and soul. Obel’s layering of dissonant, but beautiful vocals, combined with some sparse percussion gave the song an otherworldly quality. It’s definitely one I’d save for a nighttime playlist, or even a studying mix. 

These songs don’t just stand on their own, however, they were crafted to be listened to together and doing so really shows off Obel’s prowess as an artist. If “Camera’s Rolling” and “Broken Sleep” begin with airy, relaxing melodies, “Island of Doom” very much grounds the listener by comparison. Ironically, the song delivers a much brighter sound than its name suggests, bringing some extra energy that tunes back down again in “Roscian”, a soothing, melancholic piano piece. The album’s title track bears the influence of Obel’s more electronic work, bringing some very subtle synths into the mix. 

I always try to understand why certain songs give their name to the album, be it for where the album started, or for the song embodying most fully the writer’s vision, but here I’m at a loss. It’s not a bad track by any means, but it’s not my favourite. Compared to the rest of the album, it doesn’t bring much new or moving into the record, and it’s by far the safest of all the songs I’ve discussed, as well as the haunting vocal harmonies in “Promise Keeper”, which is another highlight. 

Ultimately, this is a very strong album, and deserves a full listen if you’re into some very slow and moving music, even if Obel leaves some potential untapped.


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AUTHOR: Alex Darbyshire
Gaming Editor, part-time human.

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